Biography - James W. Vermillion

JAMES W. VERMILLION is a worthy representative of a family, who, in different times of emergency, have come forward to their country's assistance, and have bravely and loyally cast their lives in the balance with the chances of war. He is a native of old Virginia, the State which has produced so many men who have adorned the chairs of State that have ever been in our Congressional halls. Mr. Vermillion, who now resides on section 27, Rural Township, Shelby County, was born in Bedford County, Va., September 1. 1810.

Our subject was a son of Robert and Nancy Vermillion. His maternal grandfather was Matthew McClatlin, who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. The parents of our subject removed from Virginia to Kentucky, and settled on a farm in what is now Russell County. The father there died, and the mother subsequently came to Illinois, where she passed away in Shelby County. He of whom we write is one of seven children, there being four sons and three daughters in the family, our subject being the third in order of birth. He was reared on a farm, and early learned the meaning of pioneer life.

In Russell County, Ky., Mr. Vermillion was married to Jane Fletcher, a native of Kentucky. His residence in this State and county dates from 1840, his advent hither being made with an ox-team and wagon. His family at that time comprised himself, wife and four children. Their worldly possessions were very few, and they had no embarrassment of filthy lucre. He rented a piece of land, and worked hard in order to get a little money to start with. About 1844 he purchased forty acres of timber land at $5 per acre, and subsequently he purchased eighty acres of Government land at $1.25 per acre. This proved to be a fortunate investment, and he subsequently added more land to his tract at $14 per acre, he is now the owner of two hundred and twenty acres of fine land.

Our subject's first residence in this State, which he could call his own, was a log cabin built in the midst of his timber tract, but it served the purpose, and he and his brave little wife were as loyal to each other as though they lived in a palace. As their circumstances permitted, they built a frame house, and on outgrowing this, Mr. Vermillion erected a brick residence, which at the time it was built was one of the finest places in Shelby County. In 1863 the gentleman of whom we write made a trip to British Columbia by the overland route, and returned therefrom the following year. Mr. Vermillion was in early life afflicted with rheumatism, which became chronic, and he is now obliged to use a crutch.

Mrs. Vermillion died about 1850, leaving nine children, whose names are as follows: Elizabeth, Birch, Fanny, Nancy, Mary, Sarah, Rachael, Martha and Isabella. Elizabeth married James Harper, and died in Shelby County; Birch resides in St. Louis; Fanny married and died in this State; Nancy married Levi P. Tolly, of Moweaqua; Mary married James Lawton, and lives in Minnesota; Sarah was the wife of John Albright, and passed away from this life in Nebraska; Rachael became the wife of John Foltz, of Minnesota; Martha married Joseph Cameron, of Minneapolis; and Isabella married Henson Wheeler, and died in this State.

Mr. Vermillion married a second time, his bride being Mrs. Jane C. Miller, nee Mason, who was born in Kentucky, where she married Adam Miller. He died in Kentucky, leaving his wife, four children two of whom, George A. and Mary L., are dead. The eldest and youngest sons are David O. and Granville L. By this second marriage our subject is the father of three children, who are James W., Eliza E. and Angie Nomie. Eliza is the wife of Edward Garrison, and Angie is the wife of W. E. Hardwick, Politically our subject is a Democrat, and takes as much passive interest at four-score years as he did when, years ago, he voted for Jackson. He is a member of the Christian Church.

Extracted 26 May 2018 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 525-526.

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